Two of the Irish advertising industry’s leading figures over the last 30 years have been honoured by IAPI and conferred with Honorary Fellowship status.
Ray Sheerin and Geraldine O’Leary were granted their Fellowships at a gathering of over 50 advertising leaders this week at the Annual IAPI Leaders Away Day.
With over 50 industry leaders in attendance at the event, Sheerin and O’Leary were honoured for their “exemplary commitment to the industry and demonstrating the highest standards of leadership and excellence within the industry.”
The fellowship is IAPI’s way of honouring their extraordinary contributions that have raised industry standards over the years. Previous recipients of the IAPI fellowship include industry leaders such as Alan Cox, Patrick Hickey, and John Fanning.
Geraldine O’Leary has worked in the advertising industry since graduation including stints with Brian Cronin and Associates, DDFH&B, Saatchi & Saatchi and Zenith Media. She joined RTÉ in 1997 and is currently the group head of commercial, a position she retires from in August.
With over 35 years’ experience of developing and leading brand and communications strategies for clients, Ray Sheerin is one of the most experienced strategists in the market. Having founded and run agencies in activation, advertising, brand, design, digital and direct marketing, he is well known for setting up and successfully running the multi-award winning Chemistry which operated for 21 years. He continues to contribute to the industry as a consultant at Ray Sheerin Consultancy and is also a chartered director of the Institute of Directors, a Director of The Organic Centre and a former director of IAPI.
“The IAPI Fellowships are a wonderful opportunity to simply say ‘Thank You’. To publicly recognise and celebrate those who have made a truly significant contribution to the commercial communications industry in Ireland. It is the highest honour bestowed by IAPI, and this year’s two recipients could not be more deserving,” says Sean Hynes, president of IAPI.
“Geraldine O’Leary has been a long-term supporter of the industry and a really great friend and supporter of IAPI. Widely known and even more widely liked, Geraldine was an exceptionally hard worker and went to great lengths to promote and improve the media and commercial creative industries throughout her career,” Hynes adds.
“Ray Sheerin has an incredible eye for a big idea and left a rich legacy of some of the best creative work to come out of Ireland. Not only that, Ray was a tireless warrior for high standards, ethics and decency across the wider industry, particularly in his time as an IAPI board member,” he adds.
“It has been a privilege to know Geraldine and Ray personally and an even greater privilege to be in a position to present these awards and say ‘Thank You’ to both.
“I am so honoured to be awarded the IAPI Honorary Fellowship. I have grown up in the advertising industry, joining my first agency, Brian Cronin and Associates in 1980,” says Geraldine O’Leary.
“To be recognised by my peers in the business I am passionate about is the ultimate accolade. I am humbled and genuinely grateful to the Board of IAPI for this huge honour.”
According to Ray Sheerin: “Over the past decade, IAPI has undergone a transformation and is now a role model for industry institutes. I had the great privilege of playing a part in that transformation, just as I had in helping Chemistry blaze its trail for over 20 years. I am immensely proud to be awarded the Fellowship, IAPI’s highest honour,” said Ray Sheerin.